Business of Clean Technology

Government support for clean technology was the topic of a meeting of the Renewable Energy Meetup on January 16th in Seattle.

Burt Hamner, who invited the participants, is an example of innovative, entrepreneurial success. He founded Hydrovolts in 2007, which now manufactures small electric generators for use in wastewater treatment plants and irrigation canals, with a local staff of nine.  In Washington last year, 83,676   people worked in clean technology. The state is a leader in advancements in green technology, including building efficiency, electrical storage, solar panel manufacture, and pollution reduction.

Washington State government, with a policy of promoting both sustainability and new jobs for the growing population, provides programs to help companies develop new industry, relocate to Washington, and export products. Innovate Washington is a public/private organization that helps entrepreneurs strategize, find funding, and take new products to market.

Tim Stearns, with the State Department of Commence Energy Office, pointed out that one barrier to growth in the solar market is the many different requirements for installation in the states’ 285 cities and 62 utilities.  He is working with the Evergreen State Solar Partnership to streamline and reduce the expense of permitting, zoning and utility connection processes for solar technology.

Tim pointed out that sustainability is advancing from a variety of directions, for example a new composting program University of Washington, increasing off-grid capability at Fort Lewis, and carbon pricing in Oregon.

The Seattle City Office of Economic Development and Office of Sustainability help with financing projects and with money saving reductions in carbon emissions.

King County is using energy efficient technology to save money for taxpayers with innovative resource recovery programs such as harnessing methane, and auditing energy use to select the most efficient equipment and processes. At the West Point wastewater plant, they will be recovering waste heat and also methane to run the facility, according to Jessie Israel who works with the county’s wastewater program. In the future, she expects that we will have technology allowing households to use the heat that now leaves our homes in sewer pipes to lower heating bills.

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